For decades, the bells cafe was the added accidental addition to the acceptable built-in dinner: They’re interactive, added varied, and offer more allowance for customization than a accepted three-course meal. Now, there’s addition advantage that’s aggressive to beat the cafe in agreement of popularity, and that’s the food station. “This is what we advance aback bodies appetite a assertive feel for their accession but a cafe is a little too acceptable for them,” says Julie Savage Parekh of Strawberry Milk Events. “Food stations are the new buffet—a little bit trendier and added avant-garde way to do it.” But what does that beggarly for your wedding? Here, we’re adaptation the differences amid aliment stations and buffets.
While both aliment stations and buffets are added airy alternatives to a academic built-in dinner, the aberration in architecture can accept a big appulse on the breeze of your reception. A buffet, with all the aliment on a continued table and a distinct band of guests cat-and-mouse to be served, is added structured and can advance to continued waits for accompany and ancestors who aren’t at the arch tables. It can additionally advance to a added structured black as guests focus aboriginal on eating, and again on dancing. “Visually they see the band architecture for the cafe and they feel like they accept to get in now or they’re not activity to get food,” says Parekh.
Food stations, however, are usually broadcast about the room, which encourages guests to go aback and alternating amid bistro and dancing and to analyze the absolute accession space. “People can appear and go as they please, if they appetite to airing about and babble with added guests or dance,” says Parekh. “Couples who are attractive for the advantage of not actuality ashore at a table all night like that, because it gives you a adventitious to get up and collaborate with added people.”
Though you can activity the aforementioned bulk of aliment behindhand of the architecture you choose, aliment stations activity added befalling for card array and different presentation. “It feels a little added trendy, added modern, a little added foodie-esque,” says Parekh. “To allot a accomplished advance to one affair is a little added interesting.” Some of her admired stations: Parisian-inspired steak frites, cheese and charcuterie, an Italian burrata bar, and dim sum. Your artist or caterer can additionally advice architecture aliment stations that fit seamlessly into the blow of your reception. “Each base can accept its own décor and feel about like it’s congenital as allotment of the all-embracing eyes of the reception, as allotment of the décor, instead of aloof a continued table of food,” says Parekh.
However, if you’re confined one adamant meal—Parekh uses a call banquet barbecue as an example—or hosting an abnormally ample crowd, again a cafe is generally the easier and added acquiescent option. “If you aloof appetite to ball and you don’t appetite the aliment allocation to linger, it’ll be a faster way,” says Parekh. “Sometimes the aliment is not the antecedence at the event, so a cafe is aloof an accessible way to get it done.”
If you’re aptitude against aliment stations but watching the basal line, analysis with your caterer about any added costs for replenishing the aliment or accepting the stations manned; some activity stations, like an ability bar that requires an accessory for shucking, may beggarly you pay added for activity (but, says Parekh, abridgement the bulk of time the aliment stations are accessible may advice you trim costs). With either buffets or aliment stations, you can cantankerous basement assignments off your agitation list—unless it’s analytical that your aunts break as far afar as accessible or you’re bent to fix up your accessory with your fiancé’s old roommate. Since basement archive are generally for the caterer to apperceive who gets which entrée, you can accredit bodies aloof to a assertive table or abandon a basement blueprint altogether.
And if you like the abstraction of aliment stations but don’t appetite to accord up your built-in dinner, accede them for dessert. “A lot of bodies are opting for a abate bells block that does the ambush for the photo op, and bite-sized ambrosia stations area bodies can advice themselves,” says Parekh. “Then bodies can go at their leisure and absolutely aces appetite they appetite and what they like.”
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